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November 10, 2020 4:08 pm

Bahrain Synagogue Joins Global Initiative to Commemorate ‘Kristallnacht’ Anniversary

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The head of Bahrain’s Jewish community, Ebrahim Nonoo, performs prayers after lighting a candle in Bahrain Synagogue, in Manama, Bahrain, Nov. 9, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Hamad I Mohammed.

The synagogue in the Bahraini capital of Manama kept its lights on Monday night, as part of an international campaign to commemorate the 82th anniversary of the “Kristallnacht” pogrom, for the first time since the Gulf Arab nation normalized ties with Israel.

“We are humbled to participate in this global commemoration,” said the head of Bahrain’s Jewish community Ebrahim Nonoo, who also called the event “so important to Jews all over the world.”

Nonoo added that the Manama synagogue had not been functional since 1948 but plans were underway to renovate it and reopen it to worshipers in 2021, according to AFP.

The synagogue is the only Jewish temple in the Muslim-majority nation, which is home to some 50 Jews.

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The global initiative, titled “Let There Be Light,” was launched by the March of the Living organization. In a statement explaining the campaign in tribute of “Kristallnacht” — the 1938 burning and vandalism of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses across Germany by Nazis  — March of the Living said that it invited “individuals, institutions and Houses of Worship across the world to keep their lights on during the night of November 9th, as a symbol of solidarity and mutual commitment in the shared battle against antisemitism, racism, hatred and intolerance.”

Houses of worship of all religions and institutions around the world participated in the campaign and keep a candle lit overnight as a tribute to more than 1,400 synagogues burned in Germany and Austria during the 1938 pogrom, known in English as the “Night of Broken Glass.”

Marc Shneier — senior rabbi of the Hampton Synagogue in New York — praised Bahrain’s participation in the initiative.

“As the only indigenous Jewish community in the Gulf, it’s incredibly meaningful and impactful to have the synagogue in Manama partner with us,” said Schneier. “This is far more than symbolic, this is truly an opportunity for the Jews of Bahrain to join with their brethren around the world in this commemoration.”

“Kristallnacht is a commemoration of the destruction of Jewish communities, and today, the Jewish community of Bahrain represents just the opposite — a community which is in the process of enhancing its synagogue and growing its Jewish community,” he added.

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